Traffic violations, for speeding and reckless driving, are extremely common. Most people have received a traffic ticket themselves or know someone else who has paid a fine for driving above the speed limit. Surprisingly, the more serious traffic violations, such as driving under the influence, happen just as often. Driving under the influence, or DUI, is among the most common criminal offenses in the United States. This traffic violation has a slew of immediate, short-term consequences. A fine or a suspended license is an expected outcome when an individual is caught driving drunk, but what are the long-term ramifications of a DUI arrest?
It is commonly understood that drinking and driving has serious consequences. After being arrested for a DUI, a driver can expect to pay a hefty fine and have his or her license suspended for a period of time. Depending on the severity of the infraction, a driver may have to complete jail time or probation. Some states may also require a driver convicted of a DUI to complete community service, participate in a drug and alcohol program, or take highway safety classes. These penalties are all temporary hardships for the driver, but, in many cases, the consequences of a DUI arrest can linger on many years afterward.
- Jail Time and License Revocation: Some of the short-term consequences, such as jail time or license revocation, can turn into long-term consequences if the violation is severe enough. In many states, a driver convicted of a DUI could lose his or her driver’s license for more than a year. Furthermore, if a driver is arrested for DUI more than once, he or she can face mandatory jail time that lasts for several years.
- Ignition Interlock System: Many states also require the installation of an ignition interlock system. An ignition interlock system is a device that is installed in a vehicle’s dashboard to read the driver’s blood alcohol content, or BAC. If the driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit the ignition interlock system will prevent the engine from starting. Drivers convicted of DUI may be required to use an ignition interlock system for a year or longer. In addition, the driver is required to pay any installation or rental fees.
- Increased Insurance: When an individual is charged with a DUI, he or she will undoubtedly face increased insurance premiums. Drivers with DUI convictions are considered “high risk” drivers and are, therefore, more expensive to insure. According to a DUI lawyer from Druyon Law, insurance rates generally increase for at least three years after a first offense, but may increase for longer if the driver is a repeat offender. In some cases, the insurance company may decide to cancel the driver’s policy entirely.
- Criminal Record: Generally, a DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor. However, if a driver causes serious injury or death while driving under the influence, or if they have been convicted several times, a DUI can be a felony. Either way, the charges will subsequently appear on the individual’s driving record. Potential employers often conduct background checks and may not hire an individual with a DUI arrest. Many other groups and individuals conduct background checks, such as landlords, volunteer organizations, college admissions boards, and day care providers. Furthermore, in some cases, a driver with a DUI conviction may face job termination. Those who are required to drive, use a company vehicle, or work with children or the elderly, are at a higher risk of losing their job after a DUI conviction.
A DUI arrest can have a significant and lasting effect on an individual’s daily life. From fines to jail time and job termination, the consequences of driving under the influence can be serious and devastating. Most drivers understand the immediate consequences of a DUI arrest, but when deciding whether or not to drive drunk, it is important to remember all of the ways that a DUI conviction can impact one’s life for years to come.
Author Bio: Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and indoor rock climbing. Find her on Google +